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Farmers with ‘Innovative and Vibrant’ Ideas to benefit from Trade Programme

Local farmers with ‘innovative and vibrant’ ideas stand to benefit from Malawi Transforming Agriculture through Diversification and Entrepreneurship (TRADE) Programme, a brainchild of Malawi government.

According to www.tradeprogramme.org, TRADE Programme will in the first 2 years be implemented in 11 districts namely Lilongwe, Dedza, Mchinji, Blantyre, Thyolo, Ntchisi, Kasungu, Nkhatabay, Chitipa, Karonga and Rumphi.

Speaking during a media tour recently, a Thyolo based Dairy Farmer Davie Odala Gomani, who is also a Member for Namahoya Milk Bulking Centre in Mitabali Village, Traditional Authority Chimaliro, said TRADE will help to address some of the challenges Dairy farmers are facing in the district.

“We are facing a number of challenges such as persistent power outages which is affects milk storage. We are hoping that Trade will provide us with power backups to ease the challenge,” said Odala Gomani  

Irish Potato farmer Doris Mayitala from Dedza district

Irish Potato farmer from Gawanyumbu Village in the area of Traditional Authority Kasumbu in Dedza district, Doris Mayitala said: “We want trade to support us with Solar Water Pumps so that we can be able to grow Irish twice or thrice a year.”

The 29-year old farmer, Mayitala also appealed to Trade to consider rehabilitating roads and bridges in the area saying currently farmers are facing challenges in transporting Irish from farm to the markets due to bad road networks.  

On his part Communications Officer for Trade Programme, Oscar Ulili, said the Programme aims at empowering local farmers with agri-business skills though Agricultural Commercialization Innovation Fund (ACIF).

ULILI: We want to empower local farmers with innovative ideas

According to Ulili, over 300,000 households {farmers} are expected to benefit ‘directly and indirectly’ from Trade programme.

“As Trade, we want to empower local farmers to start treating farming as business,” said Ulili, adding that: “We are ready to give grants to farmers with viable and vibrant ideas for agri-business.”

TRADE is a six year government of Malawi programme aimed at improving livelihoods of people living in rural areas through agri-business.

TRADE is supported by the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD) and Opec Fund for International Development (OFID) to the tune of US$ 125.4 million.

The economy of Malawi is predominantly agriculture based. Agriculture accounts for 30% of GDP and generates over 80% of national export earnings.

The agriculture sector employs 64% of the country’s workforce and contributes to food and nutrition security.

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